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Current blog look inspired by and dedicated to Chance, Blaze, Fiona and Zappa who all kicked ass against cancer and liver disease.

Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The face behind the blog.

I have been on the fence about taking a blogging break.  It's been a rough couple of months for all of us at 24 Paws of Love and I've been thinking of taking a little vacation from posting.  I think one of the most discouraging aspects for me about blogging is you are all just faces and names on my computer screen.  I can't think how many times I've read a post or comment and really would like to follow up the conversation with the actual person.  My husband and I are pretty tight friends and most of the people we know are not dog fanatics like us.  I can not tell you how many insensitive and critical comments that people have felt the need to share about loving a dog as part of the family.  And if one more person asked me, "Don't they cost a lot?" in that tone of voice that implies we would be better off financially if we got rid of one or two dogs because of the cost,  I'm going to punch them.

So what I'm trying to say is that this dog blogging community is such a blessing.  To know and understand that there are other dog crazy people out there that 'get it.'  And that we don't have to explain ourselves or justify why we have 6 dogs when the answer is plain and simple...We love them.  You guys get that and live it everyday.  Others just don't have a clue.

So it would nice to put a face with the blog and have an actual conversation with this group we have been following, I have actually considered the possibility of attending Blog Paws 2013.  Something I would have never thought of before, but curiosity has really been peaking about who exactly is behind the blog curtain of the post I read everyday.  And so being that I don't like large crowds, big cities, or much of any place where there tons of people, I don't know that I would attend any of the lectures or seminars, but I would love to meet all of you and be able to just talk instead of typing to you at home.  I'm not one to make big plans for my future, but I think it would be such a great way to actually get to know the paws and faces behind the blogs.  And to finally meet the dog crazy people who have shape and change our dog lives together.  If I could I would fly you all in so I wouldn't have leave our crew who's never been separated from us.  Which might sound a little selfish, having you all come here, but don't you think that would be totally awesome??


Monday, May 21, 2012

Meshing the Front and Back Dogs: Phase 1

We had a very exciting Sunday that we wanted to share with you.  We paired the Front Dogs with the Back Dogs for a walk.  It is something we haven't done in a long time and now we are hoping to make it a weekly thing.

The pairs were:  Brut and Silver, Zappa and Blaze, & Fiona and Chance.

Each of these pairs have walked together a few times the past few years.  

I used to walk Brut and Silver together until Brut started copping an attitude and we had dogs charging at us from other houses.  So hubby took Brut and I took Silver.  Brut can be so territorial and since Silver is his girl, he acts like he owns the neighborhood.  So Daddy and him took the lead, while Silver and I followed behind, keeping them just enough apart that they couldn't touch.  No problems there.

Then Daddy took Zappa while I took Blaze.  These two dogs have had the most contact out of the two packs.  Zappa was the only one who got along with Blaze when she first came back with us, but it has been a while since they have been together again. We did the same walk pattern, Zappa in front, Blaze and I in back.   Zappa was a little more aggressive, don't know if it is leash reactivity, but I do believe he didn't care for Blaze being part of his daddy time.  He is such a spoiled brat who almost always gets his way.  And I think he felt protective of Daddy.  About halfway through the walk he calmed down, but stayed on his toes.  Which later made me realize how much I need to work with him on some manners and commands.  And Blaze...she didn't hardly pay any attention to Zappa or his threats.  She did what she always does on a walk, she hunts for ground rodents.  :)  Zappa didn't phase her a bit.

So that left Daddy to walk Fiona and I took Chance.  These two have walked before really well before, but this time it was Chance that was being more reactive.  Thank God for all of the leash training I did with him last year.  I had to stop him a few different times to get his attention back on me.  I did my best to nip any signs of his reactivity in the bud and by the first turn, he was calmer.  Fiona paid no attention to Chance and walked quite nicely for Daddy.

I do believe that Chance was a bit hurt and feeling protective with another dog walking with us, same as with Zappa.  This was a huge change for everybody after not doing it for over a year.  So we are going to take it slowly and keep all the pairs in this order for a while and see how we can build from there.  We really wanted to work on this last summer but with Daddy's schedule it wasn't possible, but this summer is looking good for it.  It will be good practice for everyone.  We will still be doing our one-on-one walks and do these pairs once or twice a week and see how it goes.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Best Friends

Friendship.  That was my answer when asked what I would say is the greatest benefit for owning a pet when 24 Paws of Love was nominated for eCollegeFinder Top Pet Blog Award.

It never takes me long to answer: it is my relationship with my dogs that is most precious gift I have.  It doesn't matter what I do with them, whether it is the simple basics like feeding or poop duty, to those priceless intimate moments with them, it is always our friendship that is at the core of our interactions.

Simply put I would not be here, have this blog or be able to tell you the soul importance of this friendship.  Pets have saved my life a thousand times over and are the only reason I know what true love is.  I was blessed to have animals in my life that I knew cared for me and could trust to hold on to that truth to carry me through what was a horrible childhood.  And when I escape that, my dogs and cats were there through every tear and cries of pain as a began the tumultuous healing journey when there was no one there to help me through.  And they were always there.  Every time by my side.  Never once did I have to take a step alone.  And they were true friends, giving me just what I needed, right when I needed it.  Never once have they let me down.

And as I continue to follow this path of healing we have learned to grow together.  For they too have their own fears and pain that they are learning to heal from and I do my best to return what they have taught me to give.  Warmth, compassion, and understanding.    A two way street of looking over each others shortcomings with an outpouring of unconditional love and the respect to be who we are as individuals and as a whole.  

What better friendship could you ask for?

Just look at all of this love!
Thanks to Life with Dogs, Confessions of the Plume and The Two Cavaliers

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Bet

Never one to turn down a bet, Brut tried like hell to dial the pizza place...

but lost to Fiona who knew the win was a sure thing.

 Got ya, dad!!

 Damn opposable thumbs!

Yes, Brut is the Master Disaster responsible for the damage, he just couldn't stand to hear that alarm go off one more time!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Doga, Bike Rides, and Water Aerobics

I was doing my morning stretches and such and Brut was laying on the floor, so I did some yoga-like poses over him.  He actually stayed in place.  Earlier in his life he would have freaked out to be in such a submissive and vulnerable state.  It was different.  I stroked his fur while I hovered and he nibble my neck and arms.  It was relaxing and very interesting for both of us.  When I moved he gently got up and walked away.  It is always such a treat how calm he can be and that we actually can calm each other.  When we can both be such an anxious mess more times than not.

I took a short bike ride today.  By myself.  I've had a bike for a couple of years that has been in need of another pedal for just as long.  I think my husband didn't think I was serious about riding again, but we finally got a pedal and he put it on for me.  I really needed to get away from the house and dogs and do something physical alone.  I'm not in any shape for a long jaunt, but I did several laps up and down the road and through the small trails where we walk the dogs.  It really felt good just to break away for a while.  And when I came back, I didn't even feel guilty for not taking any dogs for a walk.  :)  I'd eventually like to take the non-pulling dogs,  Silver and Fiona, to run with me on these bike rides.  But until I get new brakes, I'm going to enjoy my alone time.  :)

Chance did his water aerobics today.  It was a blast! 
(Click HERE if you can't see video)

The boy just loves water!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Memories-Where's My Boy?

Monday Memories-our little trip down memory lane

It was a normal part of my husband’s work routine to take one or two dogs with him for a ride.  Then when his job changed, he was unable to.  So when I awoke one morning to find that Chance was on an errand with my husband I wasn’t surprised until I walked into the Front Dogs area and felt an eerie sensation.  Chance was gone.  It struck me so deep I felt the need to search for him.  To try and “find” him, because he was “lost.”  His absence felt so big at that moment that I didn’t know what to do.  I felt an emptiness that I didn’t know how to grasp.  I kept catching my breath.  I knew he was with my husband and that he was safe, but I couldn’t help feeling that hollowed out chunk in my gut.  It was spooky. 

Even writing this down two years later still creeps me out.

Have you ever felt that ‘lost dog‘ sensation even when you knew where your dog(s) were?

Friday, May 11, 2012

The POOL is now OPEN!!

And Luigi is inviting all of his ducky and doggie friends for his first ever POOL PARTY!

There will be all kind of games and fun things to do 
such as...
(click on video or on YouTube)

Come on over!
The water's GREAT!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gimme a little tongue

Brut, I said a little!!

*and just to let everyone know Brut was never in any danger of being shaved.  Just wishful thinking some days.  :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Ninja Fur Battle

I don't mind the dog hair that is settled around the house and has a place to rest in comfort.  On the floor, the counter, my clothes, blankets, bedding etc. You get the point.  I can accept that.  But when I have to have a ninja fur battle with all the wisps of floating dog hair while trying to eat, that's when I start to crack.  It's like entering a fur asteroid field and trying to dodge around the floaters with the mission of beating my food to my mouth.  UGH!!
Mom, what are you doing with the electric razor in your hands?
This doesn't look good!

When does shedding season hit your last nerve?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Memories-It was about so much more...

Monday Memories-our little trip down memory lane.
Today's story is about Chance a pup from our litter who was neglected and abuse and then returned to us.
Chance's first day home
Dec. 16, 2008
You might be surprised but when Chance’s owners called us and wanted to return him, we weren’t sure about keeping him.  My husband was worried about me being able to handle another dog, when we were still dealing with Blaze’s return four months earlier.    We had struggle with introducing Blaze with the Back Dogs, how were we going to add another one to the bunch?   Everything was suddenly up in the air.  We didn’t know what we were going to do.  So we introduced Chance to potential new owners one night. 

I sat on the floor with Chance later that same night after the meeting and wrote this:
Jan. 5, 2009

My husband and I have come to the conclusion there has been some kind of brain injury with Blaze.   We also witnessed some protective aggression with Chance and his potential new owners.  And it really makes me wonder on a much deeper level if Chance is meant to be here also.  Something about this info has given me a grave difference about things.  As it becomes more about their (the dogs) well being than I originally thought.  More than just taking care of them, but the fact they need us.  Much more than I ever supposed.  On a level I can’t explain.  It put things into a different perspective that I feel I don’t have the right or the want to question, having nothing to do with my needs.  Though mine are being met also with this awareness.  There is a reason they remember.  There is a reason why they feel safe and secure with us.  And there is a reason they are willing to sacrifice direct one on one that they are used to, to be here with us.  This is deeper than emotions.  There is strength and security and this is what they need and crave more than anything.  For some reason I thought Chance couldn’t stay.  There was no way.   And then I had fallen in love with him again but still I thought it best if he were to leave.  And now with this revelation seems deeply rooted that neither can go.  There is something stronger and coincidental that the two puppies that played together, growing up together, their families related and BOTH ended up back home.  It’s not really that big of a mystery.  They had already formed an alliance and it was only a matter of time.  They have a bond like Fiona and Zappa.  Unbreakable.  I can not pull them apart again.  I can not break that bond again.  They are both here for a reason.  That want to be here.  They know they are safe, even if it means less attention. 

There is too much peace in this house, under these conditions for if there wasn’t, something would be horribly wrong.  Even if all the dogs were never able to get together, there would still be peace. 

There is a deeper reason Chance and Blaze came back.  Came back from the same past.  What are the odds?  What are the odds?  

Friday, May 4, 2012

What have we been doing??

I've been spending quite a bit of time with the Back Dogs recently.  For those of you who are new and may not know, we have two separate packs of dogs, the Front Dogs and the Back Dogs and recently the Back Dogs have been getting a bit more attention.  It isn't conscious or for any particular purpose except enjoying the gobs of peace and harmony between the four of them.

It has been almost a year since I noticed the two packs start to settle down within their arrangement and routines.  It is a place I thought I could have only dreamed of.  Now almost a year later, there seems to be even more contentment as we have continued to work with Brut and his aggression that is bringing such positive and longer lasting results and is also being felt throughout both packs.  It has simply been amazing.

My directness has been focused on the strongest formed pairs:  Brut-Silver and Zappa-Fiona.  And since Chance and Blaze only have each other, they are quite advanced in this area.  They have also had almost my full attention since they came back over three years ago and now it is time to turn the tables.   

I've been using little cups of jello or veggies with the Back Dogs, so that they can try some new foods.  Being that Chance and Blaze have the advantage of being in the kitchen, they are spoiled in taste testing and I figure the Back Dogs need a good shake at trying out some new foods.  This is also teaching them to take turns and being less grabby with food.

 Can you keep an eye on Ms. Grabby??
Would you believe of Brut and Silver with Brut have the food aggression I have a bigger problem with Silver?  She doesn't seem to care that it is Brut she is dealing with and will push her way closer to him and try to snatch anything of his that falls.  You'd think she was starving and thinks every scrap of food is hers even if it is  Brut's.  Brut on the other hand has laser focus on the food and when I feed him jello I use a spoon so he has to think a little bit about what he is doing.  A lot caution goes into when I work with them two.  Studying their body language and quick reflexes has kept everything very positive.  :)

 Zappa calculating snout to snout closeness with Fiona

Fiona can be a bit food resourceful as well and she likes to keep Zappa at bay.  I don't force Zappa to come any closer than he is comfortable.  He can be so skittish that he will opt of the whole thing if he doesn't feel safe, so I let him choose his place as long as it is within reach.  Fiona has learned a great deal in a short amount of time about taking turns.  Something she wasn't very good at.  She's so much like her Daddy Brut in that way, but what I have witness between her and Zappa has been amazing.

  Did she say we get the summer off?
And since the Front Dogs, Chance and Blaze are levels above the rest of the family, for now I am just enjoying what they have achieved so far.  I really haven't thought much about where to go next with them and I'm really doing great with that.  They have had me to themselves for so long, it is time they let their parents and siblings do some catching up!  I'm sure there is something we all need to be working on and when it comes it will be the right time and place for it.  Just as everything we've done has been.  It is so nice to sink a little further in my chair and relax as each day goes by.  Yes, the 24 Paws of Love have already leaped mountains, now it's time to climb a foothill for a while.  :)      

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hope, Faith and Love

I was out with both packs tonight after a bit of a harrowing day.  My husband and I had spent part of the day not knowing if we would have water as our pressure tank was acting up, but thanks to my wonderful husband he was able to find and solve the problem quicker than expected.  Yeah!

I was out with the Back Dogs first, but it wasn't until I shifted to the Front Dogs that it hit me another similar difference of what each pack of dogs shows and is always teaching me.

The Back Dogs are Faith.  Rock solid Faith.  That calm in the storm.  They are constantly showing and teaching me how to just 'be.'  To have that overwhelming sense of peace and quiet the stirrings of doubt.

The Front Dogs are Hope.  They teach me how to play, be lighthearted and dance in the wind.    It is no coincidence that we have a dog named Chance in the Front Pack.   That despite all of trials and tribulations there is always Hope.

And all of the dogs are Love.  Unconditional, unmatched Love that is never shaken or broken and they never tire showing the true meaning of what it really means.